The Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun Just Took A Major Step Forward

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The Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Electromagnetic Railgun (EMRG) at terminal range located at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD).
Photo via DoD

The Navy’s much-hyped electromagnetic railgun has come a long way. Ever since the futuristic cannon enjoyed a public debut at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division in Virginia in November 2016, the Office of Naval Research has been working diligently alongside defense contractors to bring the decade-long program closer to battlefield effectiveness. Based on new video published by the Department of Defense, the railgun has successfully moved from single-shot to repeated firing rate operations — a major stepping stone on the path to the battlefield.


The ONR video shows the railgun conducting its first multi-shot salvos powered by repeated pulses in energy over a short period with minimal cooldown time, a critical system for efficient applications downrage. While the prototype unveiled in November can currently launch single high-density projectiles at velocities reaching Mach 6, or 4,500 mph, the Navy clearly wants more rapid firepower. The original request for information published by Naval Sea Systems Command in 2013 called for prototypes that could fire 10 shells a minute and store up to 650 shells; this is a weapon designed with repeat fire in mind.

Engineering a power source that can provide that fire — by repeatedly generating fluctuating electromagnetic fields over short periods of time — has been a priority for ONR. In June, Electromagnetic Railgun Program chief Tom Boucher told National Defense magazine that contractors BAE and General Atomics were testing new barrel designs and devastating pulsed-power systems capable of firing five shells in a single missile, raising the cannon’s rate of fire and increasing its destructive potential.

The newly released footage reveals that the program has met its goal — sort of. The railgun manages to build to full power and send a projectile down Dahlgren’s 25-mile Potomac River test range twice in 25 seconds, a firing rate of 4.8 shells a minute — just under the goal Boucher laid out in June. It’s mightily impressive, regardless, especially given the Navy’s intent to equip guided-missile destroyers and cruisers with the railguns — if only for defensive purposes.

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(Associated Press/Gregory Bull)

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Rear Adm. Collin Green, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, was expected to decide on the matter after the SEALs appeared before a review board next month. But Trump tweeted on Thursday that Gallagher was in no danger of losing his trident, a sacred symbol of being part of the SEAL community.

"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"

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(Task & Purpose photo illustration by Paul Szoldra)

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The 23-year-old sailor laid in bed trembling. At times, his body would shake violently as he sobbed. He had recently undergone a routine shoulder surgery on Dec. 12, 2017, and was hoping to recover.

Instead, Jordan couldn't do much of anything other than think about the pain. Simple tasks like showering, dressing himself, or going to the bathroom alone were out of the question, and the excruciating sensation in his shoulder made lying down to sleep feel like torture.

"Imagine being asleep," he called to tell his mother Suzi at one point, "but you can still feel the pain."

To help, military doctors gave Jordan oxycodone, a powerful semi-synthetic opiate they prescribed to dull the sensation in his shoulder. Navy medical records show that he went on to take more than 80 doses of the drug in the days following the surgery, dutifully following doctor's orders to the letter.

Instinctively, Jordan, a Navy corpsman who by day worked at the Twentynine Palms naval hospital where he was now a patient, knew something was wrong. The drugs seemed to have little effect. His parents advised him to seek outside medical advice, but base doctors insisted the drugs just needed more time to work.

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T-38 Talon training aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Two airmen from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, were killed on Thursday when two T-38 Talon training aircraft crashed during training mission, according to a message posted on the base's Facebook age.

The two airmen's names are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

A total of four airmen were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, base officials had previously announced.

The medical conditions for the other two people involved in the crash was not immediately known.

An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.

Emergency responders from Vance Air Force Base are at the crash scene to treat casualties and help with recovery efforts.

Read the entire message below:

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. today.

At the time of the accident, the aircraft were performing a training mission.

Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts.

Names of the deceased will be withheld pending next of kin notification.

A safety investigation team will investigate the incident.

Additional details will be provided as information becomes available. #VanceUpdates.

This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is released.

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